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  (Source: Sprouting Sprouts)

A visualization shows the quark gluon plasma "soup" created at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The soup reaches temperatures that are as hot as the big bang, melting protons and neturons.  (Source: BNL via YouTube)

Vortices were also observed, a part of a phenomena known as "symmetry-breaking" that runs counter to the traditional laws of physics. (Apparently you CAN change the laws of physics!)  (Source: BNL via YouTube)
Conditions have likely not been seen in the last 13.7 billion years

While the Large Hadron Collider's record setting performance in particle collisions is certainly impressive, it's important not to forget about the important contributions that particle physics centers here in the United States are still making.  Fermilab (Batavia, Illinois) was the previous record holder of the highest energy collision and still has a shot at beating the LHC at finding the Higgs boson. 

Another key lab is the Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), home to the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC), a slightly different type of collider that impacts larger particles.  Despite being grossly underfunded, both the Brookhaven NL and Fermilab had both offered stunning research contributions in recent years.

Now BNL can add one more to the list -- achieving temperatures likely not seen since the Big Bang.  The lab produced temperatures of 4 trillion degrees Celsius, 250,000 times hotter than the Sun's interior, during collisions of gold atoms hurtling at almost the speed of light.  To give another benchmark, the collision produced internal heat approximately 40 times that at the center of an imploding supernova star.

The collisions produced a stunning "soup" of quarks and gluons.  The analyzed data indicates that record high temperature caused the protons and neutrons of the gold atoms to "melt" into the quarks and gluons that compose them, which then formed a plasma, known as quark gluon plasma (QGP).  This appears to be the first time man has been able to make such a quark soup.

Dr. William F. Brinkman, Director of the DOE Office of Science, states that the results are amazing.  He comments, "This research offers significant insight into the fundamental structure of matter and the early universe, highlighting the merits of long-term investment in large-scale, basic research programs at our national laboratories.  I commend the careful approach RHIC scientists have used to gather detailed evidence for their claim of creating a truly remarkable new form of matter."

The researchers measured the temperature of the QGP using color and light-based heat analysis techniques, the advanced derivatives of similar techniques used in industrial applications.  And there were surprises. 

States Steven Vigdor, Brookhaven’s Associate Laboratory Director for Nuclear and Particle Physics, "The temperature inferred from these new measurements at RHIC is considerably higher than the long-established maximum possible temperature attainable without the liberation of quarks and gluons from their normal confinement inside individual protons and neutrons.  However, the quarks and gluons in the matter we see at RHIC behave much more cooperatively than the independent particles initially predicted for QGP."

The biggest challenge in the research, perhaps, was convincing skeptics in the research field that the quark soup was real.  Previously, physicists had predicted that it would have a gas-like form, but results from the BNL, starting in 2005, suggested it was actually a remarkable liquid with no frictional resistance or viscosity. 

The verifications was very challenging; whereas the QGP existed for microseconds after the Big Bang, in the lab it existed for a mere billionth of a trillionth of a second (10^-21 s).  In order to detect what happened in that sliver of time, researchers had to capture the handful of high-energy photons that were thrown off and told exactly how hot the mix got.  The results seem to conclusively indicate that the QGP is indeed a liquid, at least at some temperatures.

Another interesting result was the "symmetry-breaking" behavior observed in the collision bubbles.  In fundamental terms, the phenomena involves the charged particles immersed in the powerful magnetic field within the bubbles moving in directions opposite to what is seen in today's universe.

The results are published in two papers appearing in the journal Physical Review Letters [1] [2].

Following the success, the researchers plan to within a year or two upgrade the RHIC to improve its collision rate and detector capabilities.  Better collisions could reveal other exotic particles like Higgs bosons or their theoretical alternative preons (point particles that some have theorized make up quarks and gluons.



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RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Darkmatterx76 on 2/16/2010 5:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Although if a big enough black hole DID form we might NOT know about it right away depending on our distance to it because of time dilation. (sp)

I was wondering 2 things.

1. If some of this stuff is spinning in the other direction does that make it a form of anti-matter?

2. If you could be placed in the exact center of our planet or an even larger planet mass (and survive) would the 360 degree mass cancel out all gravity making you feel weightless or would you feel 360 degrees of gravity pulling on your body outwardly?


RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:34:58 PM , Rating: 2
The Sun itself would only form a 4km black hole. We're talking about smashing atoms together, the size of a black hole they'd make is so ridiculously infinitesimal that even an electron would look unimaginably huge next to it. In fact, the rate at which a black hole evaporates into nothingness is inversely proportional to its size. The smaller the black hole, the faster it poofs away, radiating all that compressed mass out as Hawking's radiation. A black hole Earth wouldn't last very long, let alone black hole atoms.

1. Antimatter is composed of antiquarks. Equal in magnitude, opposite sign for some properties. An antielectron (positron) is a fermion particle just like quarks and neutrons are, not a baryon like protons and neutrons (which are made of fermions, in this case quarks). Positrons have the same spin as an electron (1/2, up or down), it's the charge sign that's changed. So the spinning isn't a form of antimatter, it's relating to the motion of normal quarks within an electron field. That is, they were moving against the direction they should have been moving, which is strange. But they were still normal quarks, not antiquarks, as far as it sounds like in the article.

2. I don't think you'd notice, as you'd have such a massive amount of mass crushing down on you. If somehow you could get rid of that mass, or be phased so it doesn't affect you, and sat at the center of the planet, then yes, you wouldn't feel gravity as there would be no force acting on you and pulling you anywhere.


RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:36:25 PM , Rating: 2
Err, by "electron field" I meant "magnetic field" ^^;


RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By geddarkstorm on 2/16/2010 5:40:35 PM , Rating: 2
And "just like quarks and neutrinos are", not neutrons >>

Yes, can you tell it's the end of the day and I want to go home?


RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By dark matter on 2/18/2010 4:24:47 AM , Rating: 2
You are quoting Hawkings theory on Black Hole Radiation as though it is fact and been proven rather than theoretical.

Perhaps you might want to speak to the people at CERN if you have proof of its validity as you would save them a lot of money and time.

Also I am sure Hawkins himself would be delighted to read your proof.


RE: Has anyone checked yet...
By Iketh on 2/17/2010 3:49:29 AM , Rating: 2
To answer the gravity question, yes you would have "360 degrees" of gravity pulling on you, but you wouldn't feel it. You'd just be weightless. Have to think of it as 360 degrees of gravity pulling on each atom in your body.


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